San Francisco Employment

The number of people living in San Francisco with a job jumped by another 4,100 in August and now totals a record 535,700, up 24,100 versus the same time last year and an increase of 99,000 since January of 2010, a 23 percent increase in less than six years.

There are now 70,200 more people living in San Francisco with paychecks than there were at the height of the dot-com peak in 2000, at which point the unemployment rate measured 3 percent with a labor force of 480,000 versus 555,500 last month.

The current unemployment rate in San Francisco measures 3.6 percent, down from over 9 percent in January of 2010, according to data provided by California’s Employment Development Department.

Having jumped by a revised 6,700 in July, East Bay employment slipped by a nominal 300 in August to 1,308,600. Employment in Alameda County, which includes Oakland, slipped by 300 to 784,300 in August but is 20,200 higher versus the same time last year.

Alameda County Employment

The unemployment rate in Alameda County currently measures 4.8 percent, down from 6.1 percent at the same time last year and versus 11.2 percent in January 2010.

Recent Articles

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    Here we go again w/ the ambiguity as to what this refers to (where people work vs. where they live); since this stat seems to describe the latter not the former, might I suggest the headline “Nearly 100K More Employed San Franciscans Since 2010” instead ??

  2. Posted by HuskyDown

    The solution for this is clearly a housing moratorium.

    • Posted by anon

      The solution (global recession) is already on the way.

  3. Posted by HousingWonk

    Is there access to more granular level of data? I’d be curious as to median income of the net new employed San Franciscans or other data that could provide a sense of the income quartiles/quintiles/deciles these new San Franciscans are at – specifically in terms of getting a sense of whether the City’s housing policies are really aligned with providing housing supply at the household income levels where the housing demand is coming from. A lot of the City’s housing policies are aimed at those earning 60% or less of Area Median Income for rental and 80%-100% AMI for home ownership – but I suspect that the real hole in the supply doughnut is at workforce income levels higher than that.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      it probably is higher, but we should not be supporting people making over the median with subsidies

  4. Posted by Oakland lover

    wow look at that chart…just like the other one they posted earlier today that shows the price of a house in SF overlaid with the number sold.

    both charts are saying the same thing, when you compare them to the earlier similiar periods on the chart.

    the one difference this time….the gap between the lines is much much much bigger.

    itll be interesting to see how the next downturn plays out.

  5. Posted by BayviewSF

    With so many new employees, median gross rent is still severely underpriced at $1491 due to rent control. With such a low median low rent, majority of the SF residents are having a really low cost of living. However, only voice we hear is the high rent and high housing cost for newcomers. If we use the median rent or average rent, SF’s housing cost should be one of the most affordable among the leading cities.

    Median gross rent in 2013: $1,491.

    • Posted by Dave

      This is mis-leading. The rent controlled units are occupied in many ses by folks who are in their 50s, 60s and 70s and have been under rent control for decades now. Know of someone in the Haight who has been there 30 years and pays around 1000/month for a 2 bedroom. With an enclosed garage.

      Anyone who has rented in the past 5 years faces a different story and these are the young workers. I know someone near Fulton who pays 2000 month for a 1 bedroom. She has been there 6 years. She is under rent control and thankful for it as a similar unit to hers in the same building recently rented for 4100/month.

      As these older people who have been under rent control for decades move on the the coming decade, given vacancy de-control, you will see a large jump in the median SF rent.

      • Posted by Notcom

        It’s not “mis-leading” as much as it’s just stupid(ly obvious): of course a city – or anything else – is “affordable” if you’re paying last century’s prices for it. But new residents, who are the ones interested in whether something’s affordable or not, won’t be paying those prices.

        if the OP’s point is that stats can deceiving, then yes…and duh!

        • Posted by Dave

          Yes. I did not want to be so blunt.

          Solving the problem for new residents/workers is the issue and the enigma.

          Apple (or is it Google) is building hundreds of units of housing in the South Bay for its employees. I don’t know if it is rental housing or for sale but it is supposedly “affordable”.

          This could be part of the solution. Just part. But if large employers such as Google and Apple build housing for employees and profit share with them in that housing it could be a win/win.

          In SF, as someone opposed to high-rises generally, I would budge on that if the City code allowed density increases if 50% is allotted to BMR units. Folks argue that the purchasers of BMRs can’t afford the HOA costs but realistically the purchasers of these units are generally middle to upper middle class to begin with and can afford the HOAs.

      • Posted by SFrentier

        Dave, Dave , Dave….this makes no sense. The median RC rent goes up progressively over time. It’s a continuum, there won’t be a sudden jerk in price once those old fogies pass away. They have been passing away or leaving on a regular basis. Wheel of life.

      • Posted by Somabound

        Not true… A lot of these people who have been under rent control for 20-40 years have generations living in the house it will take a couple of generations to flush them out and get Market Rate. These are the “professional renters” that game the system.

  6. Posted by BayviewSF

    Also only 11% of SF residents are under 18. With such a small population of children, most people live here without any dependents. Almost all of the adults in working age are having a job. With the median rent of $1491, SF residents should have an unusually high amount of disposable income to spare. We need to use median and average numbers to analyze SF’s housing cost and affordability. A small number of young worker s living in high priced apartment will be overwhelmed by the huge number of people in rent controlled apartment with an extremely low rent.

    Of course, it seems very unfair between a young working paying $4000 rent and a senior paying $900 rent. But in aggregate terms, SF is extremely affordable.

    • Posted by Mark

      What econ class did you take?

    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      You have a point. We hear all the time stories from new comers shocked by the cost. But the silent majority are established resident pay relative modest rent.

      Where do you get the $1491 figure?

    • Posted by SFrentier

      Yup, indeed he has a point (ignore the knee jerk nay sayers.). And if that $1491 (or thereabouts) is accurate, then that explains why at least some of the low rent people can afford a comfy lifestyle in the city- restaurants, cafes, etc. Of course some of the low rent peeps are poor, but only SOME of them are. There are many people who milk their RC unit and make plenty of money at their jobs. Housing is like a lottery ticket in this city. A lottery ticket that you can manipulate.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        i personally have a friend with a 3 bedroom top floor apt in presidio heights who pays $1950 for a 3bdr , 2ba with parking and a deck with downtown view. He has done well for himself, so has a home in Truckee, drives a new Tesla and has a ton of disposable income. He had roomates in the 90s, but didnt need them anymore with low price. He has no incentive to ever buy a home here, and takes his mortgage interest deduction from his tahoe home. rent control without means testing is a sham

  7. Posted by BayviewSF

    The median gross rent is shown on city-data.com. It shows that SF median rent is $1491 comparing with $1403 in Tracy. Basically more than half of SF tenants are paying the same rent as tenants in Tracy.

    http://www.city-data.com/city/San-Francisco-California.html
    Median gross rent in 2013: $1,491

    http://www.city-data.com/city/Tracy-California.html
    Median gross rent in 2013: $1,403.

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      This is not rocket science, it is not hard to understand. Rent controlled SF rent rises at 60% inflation. Even with a small number of the old tenants continually pass away or relocate each year, 70% of the rental stock has a rent increase that’s typically much lower than Tracy. SF’s median rent in 1970 could be twice of Tracy, but they are the same in 2003.

  8. Posted by Jake

    uh, BSF, the majority (53%) of rentals in Tracy are “3 or more bedrooms”, while the majority (55%) of rentals in SF are either “no bedroom” or “1 bedroom”. You are not only comparing two different locations, you are also comparing very different physical properties being rented. All of this data and the data you linked to are from the US Census, btw. The detailed breakdown is in Table B25068: BEDROOMS BY GROSS RENT.

    All this really tells you is that the going rent for “3 or more bedrooms” in Tracy is about $1500.
    If you try to compare based on the bedrooms the differences are striking. 27% of all rentals in SF pay more than $1000/month for a 1 bdrm, but almost no one in Tracy pays over $1000/month for a 1 bdrm. And most of the people that rent a 1 bdrm in Tracy pay less than $750/month, while 72% of the people in SF that rent a 1 bdrm pay over $1000/month.

    It may not be rocket science, but the stats deserve more science than you provide, lest you be fooled by them and being fooled spread foolishness.

    Who knows maybe in 30 years the majority of rentals in Tracy will have 10 bedrooms and a pool and a pony. Maybe they already do. Not unpossible, given the data.

  9. Posted by Dave

    There is abuse of rent control as Moto says. I know several retired folks who keep their SF rent controlled apartments but live most of the time in homes they have purchased out of the area.

    Don’t know how to police that or means test rent control. That would be an administrative nightmare.

    Too, there are plenty of retired folks living on little more than SS whose rent controlled units are legit and not being abused.

    • Posted by parklife

      You “police that” by making the tenant responsible for remitting all years of back rent for the amount between market rent and actual rent for the time period in which the unit was not their primary residence. You also allow for punitive damages to be paid to the city. Neighbors can be empowered to rat out the offending tenant and receive a portion of the punitive damages.

      If this sort of “policing” is appropriate for landlords who rent out short-term in violation of the law, it’s appropriate for tenants too.

  10. Posted by Dave

    If it is as it is with owner occupied homes, to qualify as a primary residence one has to live there 6 months an a day. Out of a year.

    For instance, I know a number of folks who own homes in Tahoe on the Nevada side to escape California taxes. To do this they are supposed to live there 6 months and a day. Some do and are meticulous about it, others live there just a month or two out of the year but “get away” with it. Policing is not so easy.

    • Posted by parklife

      I suspect that many tenants who have a primary home elsewhere are also taking advantage of the homeowners exemption on their property taxes. So either they are committing fraud with respect to their rent controlled apartment or they are vomiting fraud on their property taxes. This should be easy to prove.

      The key is that the “penalty” for keeping a rent controlled unit as a secondary residence is minimal. They just lose the low rent prospectively if they are caught. That’s a pretty meaningless deterrent since it’s not their primary residence anyway.

      I think that if the penalties were more severe you would see a decrease in this behavior. That seems to be the rationale of the tenant activists who believe landlords should be heavily penalized for violating the rent control ordinance.

      • Posted by Dave

        In SF you will never get strong penalties instituted against tenants who abuse rent control. Its a different world here.

        When I bought my first rental home more than a decade ago I bought in Rocklin near Sacramento as the area is more evenly balanced between tenant rights and landlord rights.

        When I did a tax free exchange of that home this year I bought out of state as, as a landlord, I am better owning outside of California. When I asked my Ohio property manager this summer how they will take the money from the rent to pay for the gardener (do I pay directly or not) she laughed. You don’t need a gardener. The “men” drink beer on Saturday afternoon and do the lawn. LOL!

        So California but more specifically SF and other cities in the state are particularly tenant friendly and landlords’ are guilty till proven innocent.

  11. Posted by parklife

    Agreed! If I didn’t enjoy living in this city as much as I do and if I didn’t want to own a flat with another person who might be difficult with respect to noise, maintenance, etc., I would never take on the burden of being a landlord in SF. The laws as written only mean that when my current tenant leaves, we will have a nice spare unit for friends and family.

  12. Posted by Zach

    That is not the fault of the rent control system, that is an enforcement issue. Your friend is not covered by rent control, as he has a primary residence in Truckee. If his landlord knew this, his rent could be raised to market – it’s an information and enforcement problem, not a rent control problem.

  13. Posted by two beers

    This conversation is disingenuous.

    Rent control is currently not means-tested, therefore, there is no “abuse” of current rent control. To call these contemporary instances “abuse,” you must have a time machine and can determine that rent control _will_ be means tested in the future, and further, at that point in the future you must then be able to post hoc retroactively apply that means-testing.

    Second, “means-testing” of rent control would set in motion a chain of events that would undermine rent control for the larger demographic dependent on it, which is the whole reason why the RE/LL/banker/developer bloc is so enthusiastic about implementing it.

    Those who cite current “abuse” of rent control are masters of all space and time.

    • Posted by Ohlone Californio

      how do you feel about rent control being passed on from generation to generation? is that fair?

    • Posted by BayviewGentrifier

      What ARE you smoking?

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *